Writers, There’s No Time For Despair

Black Text on Gray Background

Here are some truths: 

• Publishing is in flux and no one is quite sure what the future looks like.

• Publishers are merging, resulting in fewer places to submit manuscripts.

• Many authors who have published numerous books are finding their advances going down, not up.

• With self-published books now plentiful, there are more books than ever before for readers to choose from.

• It is difficult figuring out how to effectively market books.

• A book’s potential sales are highly unpredictable.

• Many authors’ books don’t live up to the publisher’s sales expectations, meaning the publisher might not want to renew their contract.

• Poor sales figures can make it difficult or impossible to get another traditional book deal.

• Writing can be difficult and frustrating.

• Sometimes it’s hard to meet deadlines.

• The publishing journey often doesn’t live up to an author’s expectations.

Despair

In the midst of these truths, I frequently counsel writers who are experiencing moments of disappointment and dejection. They might be anxious that a series of speed-bumps could signal the end of their writing career, sometimes before it has even started. Often they are questioning whether it’s time to give up. Some are sad, thinking their lifelong dream is dying. A few are wondering how they are going to pay the bills.

While I understand that everyone has to deal in their own way with disappointment, and we all have a right to respond to setbacks in our own way, I also want to encourage everyone to avoid getting bogged down in despair. Because here are some other truths:

• A few bumps in the road doesn’t mean your dream has to end.

• Publishing setbacks are not “failures” but necessary and expected rites of passage in this business.

• Just because things didn’t go the way you envisioned doesn’t mean things can’t still go well — possibly after a re-envisioning of your goals.

• People are reading more than ever, meaning we need writers more than ever.

• There are more options than ever before for getting your work in front of readers and getting paid for it.

• You can embrace your identity as a writer, and refuse to let external circumstances change that.

• The best way to deal with dejection is to stand up and fight. Don’t let yourself settle in to the despair. You’re not a quitter — pull out that fighting spirit and decide to be a writer regardless of the obstacles.

I’m not trying to be a cheerleader or a pollyanna. It’s just that I spend a lot of time talking writers off ledges, and I understand what that ledge looks like. But you cannot afford to spend much time on the ledge. You need to get back to work. You need to acknowledge your fear and your frustration, then turn it around and make a new plan. You need to refuse to spend time worrying about things over which you have no control (the publishing industry at large, for instance) and focus on what you CAN influence.

Just don’t let yourself get trapped in despair. You can’t afford the time. Get back to work!

Close-up of Human Hand

SINCE YOU’RE HERE… 
… we have a small favour to ask.

Hurn Publications is a home for bold ideas and big thinkers. We welcome your comments and banter, provided it stays respectful for all parties.

Hurn Publications is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

We’re also an Indie Publishing Company, partnered with, The Write Point. We aim to help educate, inspire and coach new and published writers to achieve their goals without getting taken advantage of in the publishing world. Follow our link for Submission and Query Guidelines and join The Write Point Community of aspiring and established authors.

If everyone who reads our reporting and writing, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. We ask that you follow us and subscribe to our publication.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s